Travel can be stressful at the best of times. From planning and packing to airports and airplanes, there are a lot of steps involved in getting from Point A to Point B. And if you’re a working parents, well, the challenges can be unique. And if you’re traveling for business, whether it’s solo or whether the kids are tagging along, you know how critical smart packing is. How you pack can make or break your trip. Here are some packing tips to help simplify travel for you!
If you’re traveling solo and leaving the little ones at home, try to pack carry-on luggage only. Not only will life be so much easier if you’re not weighed down with excess baggage, but your travels will be much more flexible as well. For example, let’s say you’re at the airport and realize you need to get home much quicker to see your children. With carry-on only luggage, it will be much easier to change your ticket and get on an earlier flight.
If you’re traveling with kids who are old enough to carry their own small suitcase or backpack, choose something that’s compact enough to fit under the seat in front of them and that opens from the top so that they can easily retrieve that must-have game, book or toy. If your child is using a roller suitcase, look for something that has a telescopic handle that can be sized to a child’s height or an adult’s height … the chances are high that you’ll end up rolling it at least part of the time, so you don’t want to have to hunch over to do it! A backpack that isn’t too heavy is also a good idea for kids so they’ve got their hands free.
If you’re traveling with someone else and you’re checking bags, it’s a wise idea to split everyone’s stuff amongst the multiple suitcase. That way, if one suitcase gets lost in transit, you’ll all still have fresh clothes to wear until the suitcase is returned to you.
And always remember to keep all your really important things in your carry-on bag – don’t check them! Things like glasses, contact lenses and medications should always be in your hand luggage, as well as anything you’ll need for a baby or child (food, toys) and anything valuable like tech gadgets and jewelry.
If you travel frequently for business, it’s a good idea to come up with a capsule wardrobe in advance so that you have your essentials always ready to go! Consider packing three bottoms and four tops that can easily mix and match to give yourself 12 different looks. And only pack two pairs of shoes; one for day and one for evening, plus the pair you’re wearing to travel in means you’ll have three pairs total.
If you’re traveling with a baby and sharing a suitcase, use packing cubes to keep the baby’s clothing separate from your clothing. Packing cubes will help to keep your suitcase neat and prevent it from becoming a disorganized mess.
Buy doubles of your makeup and skincare products and have a cosmetics/toiletries bag always packed and ready to go. This way, you’ll never forget to pack your favorite moisturizer or lipstick. Likewise, if you’re traveling with kids, have a cosmetics bag always packed with the essentials like wipes, Band-Aids, sunscreen and toothpaste, for example. Just grab and go!
Even better? Check out Travel Badger for pre-packed toiletry kits that are TSA-compliant and have everything you’ll need. Kits can be purchased for women, men and children and there’s also an organic option.
The key to easy packing is being organized and since it seems like we’re all traveling with so many gadgets (smartphones, laptops, tablets and eReaders), that means we’re also traveling with an increasing number of chargers. Keep all those cords, cables and batteries neatly organized using the Geek Tech Case from Skits. It’s a simple and stylish way to organize all your chargers and cords in one place so you can easily find what you’re looking for.
Many mamas will tell you that the easiest way to survive a flight with kids is to let them watch a movie on a tablet or laptop. Be sure to use a kid-proof, shockproof, protective case on your tablet so it can survive being dropped. And don’t forget headphones so your little one isn’t disturbing seatmates and other nearby passengers. When shopping for headphones, look for ones that are specifically designed for kids and have ear cups that fit your child well and have a volume limit so that they can’t accidentally turn up the volume too loud and blast their sensitive ears.
Before you travel, make sure that your smartphone is loaded with all the essential apps you’ll need. A few to consider? The TravelSmart app from Allianz Travel Insurance is so handy because it gives you quick access to your travel insurance policy in the unfortunate event that anything goes wrong. It also has lots of practical information like emergency phone numbers in countries around the world and a hospital locator, and it can help you translate medical and first aid terms into 18 languages. The TripIt app can help to save you time and headaches as you navigate a busy airport, especially if you’ve got kids in tow. Use it to find out security wait times and to get real-time flight alerts throughout your trip. Plus, if you’re traveling with a baby and need a quiet place to nurse, the TripIt app can help you find the nearest airport lounge. Some other apps to have downloaded: SignEasy for a quick and simple way to sign documents on the go, Genius Scan for scanning documents and the XE app for quick currency conversions.
When it comes to apps for kids, you’ve likely got tons of educational apps, games and videos to keep them entertained. But consider the Teddy Passport app, which is a really fun way to create a faux passport for your child’s stuffed animal and with just the tap of a button, add stamps every time he visits a new state or country.
If you anticipate needing lots of ways to keep your little one amused and entertained on the airplane, bring a small new toy that they’ve never seen before to keep them engaged. Or bring a favorite toy that they only get to play with on the plane, so it keeps its ‘special’ status. Think toys are just for kids? If you’re traveling solo and fear you’ll miss your little ones too much, sneak one of their stuffies as a stowaway into your suitcase so you can hold it if you feel lonely.